Roadmap Genesis – Review

Roadmap Genesis

 

A young Hollywood film maker known for psychological thrillers experiences a great deal of success and thinks little of the work he does other than the money it makes for him and the enjoyment it brings him. This all changes when he finds himself married with small children. As he looks at his children and looks at the declining care for others in our society he wonders if HE might have played some part in that. He doesn’t goes so far as to think that his movies CAUSED this decline, but he found himself asking, “do the movies I make ADD anything to society.” In a moment of self-evaluation and honesty he had to admit that his work did not help society. This is what spawned the journey that brought us to the film, Roadmap Genesis.

 

Film Maker Nolan Lebovitz started on a journey for more than just a career entertaining people. As he looked at a decline in the way that people treated other and how people treated each other he began to search for answers. He studied books on philosophy, ethics, and many other topics but landed on the Bible as the source for the answers he was seeking. This is where Roadmap Genesis opens.

 

As Nolan studies and talks to many experts in theology and religion as well as many “man on the street” interviews the book of Genesis is opened and we see that in it is the origins of all of us. In it is the origins of our relationship with God. In it is the origin of our morality. As Christians it is the origin of all that we believe. Yet, so many people around us know very little knowledge of it or even care about it or believe it.

 

So, what?

 

As a Christian and a ministry leader I think that this film is something that everyone should watch. Admittedly I’m a nerd. As such I really like documentaries. This is a documentary, therefore, I’m apt to enjoy it because I like stuff like this, but there’s more than that. This film will give you a fresh view of Genesis and will make you rethink some of what you are doing, or not doing. This film will leave you with a desire to go and reread Genesis, or to read it for the first time.

 

If this Genesis is the foundation, the origin, the beginning of all that we, as Christians believe, then we MUST know this book.

 

Check out this great film HERE.

Matt Norman

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Teach Your Preteens: Modesty Matters – More Than Yoga Pants

Recently a Christian woman wrote a blog post about why she was no longer going to wear yoga pants in public. Here goal was to honor her husband and to lift up modesty as important. Little did she know the storm that her simple post would cause. She ended up getting so much attention that she and her husband were even on a popular, national morning show being interviewed about it. She garnered much support for her stance and at least as much criticism. Many were left wondering:

 

What’s the big deal?

 

Many have been left asking, what the big deal is. After all, they’re just pants. But, I would argue that it is a big deal. It is more than just pants. In fact the issue is about more than just cloths. It’s about LUST and accountability among believers. It’s about avoiding sin and helping others do the same.

 

What does LUST have to do with it? The Jews of the New Testament knew that adultery was bad, but they limited it to an actual, physical act. Jesus, however, raised the bar on that thought saying, “…everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”(1) You see even the things a man might think when looking at a woman matter. Jesus is saying that simply have lustful THOUGHTS about a woman is the same as adultery. If your reading this and don’t think that what a woman wears can lead a man to have lustful thoughts, then you don’t know men very well.

 

It’s not my job to police men’s thoughts. This is a popular argument that comes up with the issue of modesty. There is some truth to this statement. The Bible instructs us to “take every thought captive.” (2) Therefore, we are responsible, ourselves, for the thoughts we have. But, Paul takes it a bit further. Some people see Paul eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols and they ask him about that. He goes on to explain that since the idols are simply manmade things, then they have no power and the food sacrificed to them is OK to eat. But, he ends this discussion by saying,”…if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall.”(3)

 

Paul knew the meat was harmless. You see, Paul knew that this meat was harmless and OK to eat, but there were others for whom eating this might lead to sin. So, Paul tells us that if by eating meat he might cause someone else to sin, then he was not going to do it. Paul is specifically talking about meat in this instance, but the bigger principle Paul’s teaching is that we should not do ANYTHING that might cause a brother to stumble.

 

Yoga pants ARE harmless. In and of themselves, yoga pants or tights, or whatever other name these types of things are given are harmless. EXCEPT in their power to cause another to sin. Is it a woman’s fault if she wears these pants and a man looks at her lustfully? NO! But, could she have done something to help him? YES! As an adult; as a maturing Christian would you intentionally do something that you knew would cause a sibling to sin? As children we may have done this, but we are not children any more. The Bible refers to fellow believers as brothers and sisters in Christ. So, would you, as an adult want to do something to cause your brother or sister in Christ to sin? I would hope not.

 

Preteens are not adults. Certainly as an adult and as a Christian I think most of us would say that we would want to avoid doing something that might cause a brother or sister in Christ to sin. But, PRETEENS ARE NOT ADULTS. Preteens lack many of the filters that we learn as adults. In some ways this is beautiful as it allows them to be creative and spontaneous in ways that most adults are incapable of being. But, it also means that they can’t see that the way they dress can effect the people around them. It is our responsibility, as parents, to provide these filters for them.

 

This is not about YOGA PANTS. This post is not about yoga pants and whether Christians should wear them or not. If I’m honest I don’t think that any woman should wear them in public, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about modesty. This CAN mean yoga pants or it can mean short skirts or low cut blouses. It can mean any number of things.

 

The point is that we should think about the people around us when we make choices in life. This can be the choice about what to wear. This can be the choice about what to do or what to drink or eat. The Bible instructs us that “…whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” (4)

 ADDENDUM
A good friend of mine brought up a good point regarding this issue. I think I was too broad when I said that yoga pants shouldn’t be worn in public. When worn under a long blouse or similar garment that covers the butt, etc then they are harmless.

Thanks, Jennifer Bunker for helping me clarify my thought.

 

 

 

 

Scripture References

  1. Matthew 5:28
  2. 2 Corinthians 10:5
  3. 1 Corinthians 8:13
  4. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Matt Norman

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Your Doing Ministry Wrong

Your Doing Ministry Wrong

 

Ok, so God has called you to ministry. You have felt that unique call on your life. Maybe your friends and family think your crazy. Maybe you are. Either way the next question is,

 

What’s next?

 

For many of us the next step is to start thinking of what you are good at and what you enjoy. Maybe you start looking at schools. These are not bad thoughts and not bad places to start. But, you cannot do ministry for the long term like that.

 

God called you; you should follow Him. For many of us following God in the beginning is easy. After all, we don’t know where we are going or what we are doing. But, as we get further into it there comes a point, for many of us, that we begin to rely more on what we are good at, what we have learned, and what we know, then on the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

 

Do what your good at. I’m certainly not saying that you should not do what you are good at. God gave us our talents and gifts so we should use them in the ministry He has called us to. But, we can’t stop there. Our entire ministry cannot simply be an expression of what we are good at or what we enjoy.

 

He will teach you to speak. When God called Moses (1) he begged God to send someone else because he was not a good speaker. God replied, “… I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.” God chose Moses to be His spokesman to Pharaoh and the people of Israel. This in spite of the fact that Moses was not a good speaker. Some even say that Moses had a stuttering problem. This did not keep God from choosing him and it did not keep him from leading the people of Israel out of Egypt.

 

You are the person, God is the power. When God called Jeremiah, he responded, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.” (2) God instructs Jeremiah to “go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you.”(3) God then went on to assure Jeremiah saying, “I will be with you to deliver you.” (4) We should absolutely do what we are good at. BUT, our ministry should not simply be a reflection of what we are good at. If this is the case, then where is the evidence of the Holy Spirit?

 

How did THAT happen? So, how do you know if you are trusting God, or simply operating out of what you are good at? Have you ever had a moment in ministry when you looked around and wondered how in the world THAT happened? Have you ever planned an event, service, or activity that you thought would be marginal at best and saw a major response? Guess what. If you’ve experienced either of these, then you have probably experienced the work of God.

 

So what now? In ministry we HAVE to spend time planning. There are events, programs and services that need to be planned. But, we must spend time in the Word and in prayer also. I know this may seem like something that doesn’t need to be said, but it can be very easy to get so caught up in the day to day running and planning of things that we neglect the Word and prayer. If you want to minister from God’s leading and power and not your own abilities, then you have to spend time in the Word and prayer.

 

How are you going to change your habits, adjust your schedule and change your routines in order to make more room for the Word, prayer and moving of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Scripture References

1)   Exodus 4:10-13

2)   Jeremiah 1:6

3)   Jeremiah 1:7

4)   Jeremiah 1:8

Matt Norman

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One Generation Away

I have heard it said many times that Christianity in America is only one generation from extinction. Unfortunately, as I look around and as much as I hate to admit it, I believe that this is true. If we do not make a renewed effort to spread the Gospel, this may happen. If we do not decide to step out in faith and go where God leads, this may happen. If we, as the church, continue on the path that we are currently on, then this could be our future.

I see a different future.

As a children’s minister I am passionate about children’s ministry. Some may say that my views may come from that passion, but I don’t think so. As I look at the children of today I see something different. As I look at children’s ministers today I see a different future. 

Are these kids the future?

I believe that God is raising up a generation that will spark a re-emergence of the gospel in America. I believe that God is raising up a generation of children’s ministry leaders that will reach these kids and make disciples of them so that they can do that which God is calling them to do. You see the answer for our country is not in politics. The answer is not in getting the right person in the right office. The answer is not in trying to legislate morality. The answer is in the GOSPEL.

This generation is a generation that hungers for the gospel like none before it in American history. This generation will have faith unlike any that has come before it in this country. This generation has the potential to bring America back to God.

If this is to happen we need a generation of children’s ministers that have a similar faith and hunger for the gospel. We need a generation of children’s ministers that is willing to step beyond what is comfortable for the sake of the gospel. We need a generation of children’s ministers that seeks God’s direction and FOLLOWS IT. 

I believe that this generation of children’s ministers is here.

If we are to reach this generation of children we need to spend less time searching for the right curriculum and more time reading the original children’s ministry curriculum, THE BIBLE. If we are to reach this generation we need to spend less time asking FaceBook, Twitter and other sources what we should do in our ministries and start asking the one to whom these ministries belong, GOD. If we are to reach this generation we need to set aside our fear and step out boldly, in faith, trusting that God will do what He says.

Today I want to challenge children’s ministers. Take up the challenge that I have placed before you. No longer be satisfied with the few children you have at your church. Never rest until EVERY CHILD in your community has heard the gospel, but don’t stop there. If every child in your community has heard the gospel, them move onto others. Don’t stop until every child in your county, state or in our country has heard the gospel. When we reach that, then let’s take on the world. Let us not grow tired of doing what is good.

I invite you to take up this challenge with me. Let’s see what GOD wants to do through HIS ministry in us.

Matt Norman

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Home Discipleship 101: Pray FOR Your Children

This may seem like a no brainer, but if we are honest, most of us would have to admit that we don’t spend as much time in prayer as we would like. This would mean that we are also not praying for our kids as much as we should.

 

Set aside a time. We schedule many things in our lives. We make appointments for our hair or nails. We schedule phone calls. But, do we schedule time to talk to God? Do we set aside time to pray to the creator of the universe on behalf of our children. The Bible tells us that Jesus intercedes for us in heaven with God the Father (1). If Jesus does this for us shouldn’t we also do it for our children?

 

Ask them what they need. Tell your child that you will be praying for them today and ask if there is anything that you could be praying about for them. When you first start this you may be greeted with a blank stare. When they do speak it may start as rather generic requests. It may be simple things like the math test they have that day. But, as you continue this habit you may be surprised what you learn. This simply action may give you a glimpse into what your child is thinking, what they are feeling, what they are going through. This may give you a window into things that they may not share otherwise.

 

Share the answers. If YOU receive an answer to a prayer request that has come from your child, then share it with them. God answers prayers. It is important that we celebrate this with our children. Through this our children can learn to pray, trusting that God will answer.

 

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 7:25
Matt Norman

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